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Curated research library of TV news clips regarding the NSA, its oversight and privacy issues, 2009-2014

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Primary curation & research: Robin Chin, Internet Archive TV News Researcher; using TV News Archive service.

Speakers

Jack Goldsmith
Office of Legal Counsel, 2003-2007
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: That afternoon, President Bush reauthorized the program. At the Justice Department, Jack Goldsmith prepared his resignation letter. Goldsmith: I had drafted my resignation letter and was prepared to resign, and I was sure I was going to resign that day. It was inconceivable to me, based on what had happened the last two days, that I wouldn't resign. Narrator: Dozens of top DOJ officials threatened to join him, including FBI Director Mueller and even Acting Attorney General Comey. Comey's letter of resignation: "And I would never be part of something that I believe to be fundamentally wrong. With a heavy heart and undiminished love of my country and my department, I resign as deputy attorney general of the United States, effective immediately. Sincerely yours, James B. Comey.
George W Bush
President 2000-2008
KQED 05/13/2014
Gellman: nearly the entire political appointment list at the Justice Department, from the attorney general on down (would resign). And no president could survive that in an election year. Narrator: The next morning, the President decided to have a private talk with Acting Attorney General Comey. Gellman: After the national security briefing, Bush says to Comey, "Stay a minute. Come talk to me." And Cheney starts to follow, and Bush says, "No, no, this is just the two of us." And he says, "What's going on here? How could you possibly do something of this importance at the very last minute?" Comey suddenly realizes that the president had no idea what had been happening. The president thinks this just began yesterday. He doesn't know it's been going on for three months. And so he says, "Mr. President, if that's what you've been told, you have been very poorly served by your advisors.
George W Bush
President 2000-2009
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: The President then sent for FBI Director Mueller. Gellman: Mueller is waiting downstairs a level, outside the Situation Room. Some aide goes and says, "The President wants to see you right now, get in there." And Bush says to Mueller, "Go tell Jim Comey to fix this. I withdraw the order. You go make it right." Narrator: The warrantless email data collection was shut down. The crisis was averted. But at the White House, they were determined to resume it. Lizza: And so they're sort of sifting through the FISA law, they're sifting through the Patriot Act trying to find existing laws, existing authorities, you might call it loopholes, to justify these programs.
Michael Hayden
Former Director of the NSA and Director of the CIA
KQED 05/13/2014
Hayden: Could we get a court order to authorize this? And so we began a very aggressive program with the chief judge of the FISA Court at that time, Judge Kollar-Kotelly, to take that part of the program that had been stopped and present it to her to see if we could get an order to allow that program to go forward. Lizza: Hayden personally meets with Judge Kotelly of the FISA Court on two Saturdays to make the pitch, to explain how they are going to do this. And Kotelly eventually rules that this is legal: that the NSA can indeed collect all of the Internet metadata going to and from the United States. And they used this authority that previously was used to trace numbers going to and from a single telephone... for everybody.
George W Bush
President 2000-2008
KQED 05/13/2014
Audio TV reporting: Bush on day two of his tour to defend the Patriot Act, this time in Buffalo, New York... In Buffalo, he continued his push for an extension of the anti-terror law... Narrator: That same year, the president hit the campaign trail, publicly arguing there was no warrantless surveillance program. Bush: Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. Lichtblau: Bush got up there several times and said, "When you hear about us wiretapping, that means we're getting a court warrant." Well, we knew that wasn't true. He was leaving out this whole other side of the equation in terms of the NSA operation. Bush: It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution. Thank you for coming.
James Risen
NYT National Security Journalist
KQED 05/13/2014
Lichtblau: It was a bit shocking, not only that he was calling him, but also that he got Hayden on the line. Risen: I read him, like, two paragraphs of the draft of the story. Risen’s story: "Months after the September 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others..." Risen: And you could hear, like, a sharp intake of breath, like... (gasps) You know, it was almost like he was... He didn't want to say it, but he was like, "I can't believe you got that story." Hayden: I think this is a very bad thing. There is a reason we keep intelligence sources and methods secret. It's the same reason journalists try to keep their sources and methods secret. You know, you can't survive unless you keep them secret. Risen: I'd caught him off guard, and he had started to confirm it, and then realized what he was doing, and hung up.
Bill Keller
Executive Editor, The New York Times, 2003-2011
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: (In the fall of 2004) Executive Editor Bill Keller met with the President's top advisors: Condoleezza Rice, General Hayden, Alberto Gonzales and others, who insisted to Keller that revealing the existence of the program would endanger national security. Keller: I had a consensus of everybody that we had contact with in the administration that this would be an extremely dangerous thing to do. These were serious people, a consensus across the board of those who talked to us that it was going to be dangerous, a level of stridency that was quite impressive. And after much discussion, decided that we weren't ready to go with it. Narrator: Keller spiked the story. The White House had prevailed. The program would remain a well-kept secret.
James Risen
NYT National Security Journalist
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: It had been nearly one year since the New York Times had refused to publish the investigation into the NSA. During that year, "The Program" had grown dramatically. Terabytes-- huge amounts of information about Americans' telephone calls and emails-- had been clandestinely captured. Finally, reporter James Risen from the New York Times had had enough. He decided to strike out on his own. Risen: The story was dead now, twice dead, and I thought the only way to ever get this story out was to put it in a book. Narrator: Risen had a surprise for Eric Lichtblau. He invited him to drive over to his house to read a draft chapter of the book: the story the New York Times had refused to print.
James Risen
NYT National Security Journalist
KQED 05/13/2014
Lichtblau: The chapter was just called "The Program." And in it, he basically made known the existence of this program and the fact that the administration had gotten the paper to spike the story. Risen: I said, "I want to make sure it's okay with you." He said, "The only thing I ask is that you put my name in there, too." Narrator: It did not take long for the editors at the New York Times to get word of what Risen was planning. Taubman: I began to hear through the grapevine that he might include the NSA story in the book. So that led to a series of, you know, very awkward conversations with Jim. Risen: The editors were furious at me. They thought I was being insubordinate. Lichtblau: He had a gun to their head. They're really being forced to reconsider. The paper's gonna look pretty bad.
Bill Keller
Executive Editor, The New York Times, 2003-2011
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: The President then played his trump card, threatening that the New York Times would be responsible for the next attack. Keller: He said, you know, "Listen, if you guys publish this article and there is another 9/11, we're going to be called before Congress to explain how we failed to prevent it, and you should be in the chair beside us explaining, because you'll be complicit in allowing damage to our country." He was saying, in effect, "You, Arthur Sulzberger, will have blood on your hands if there's another attack that could've been prevented by this program." I think anybody would feel goosebumps.
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